Merchandise stolen from Heavy’s Caps & Accessories is displayed by police Nov.  17, 2005. What’s seen here is only a small part of what was taken. (Photo courtesy Cambridge Police Department)

Merchandise stolen from Heavy’s Caps & Accessories is displayed by police Nov. 17, 2005. What’s seen here is only a small part of what was taken. (Photo courtesy Cambridge Police Department)

Cambridge Police arrested two teens at dawn yesterday, saying they were caught trying to heist between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of goods from a Cambridge Street store.

Police were tipped off to the theft by a neighbor to Heavy’s Caps & Accessories, at 766 Cambridge St., police spokesman Frank Pasquarello said. The neighbor detected “suspicious activity.”

About 10 police officers got to the store in time to surprise the thieves, who ran but were caught in nearby back yards.

They had been in the process of loading the stuff into a car — a stolen car — parked out front, Pasquarello said. Some of the goods were still in the store in bags, some of it already packed away.

The thieves had gotten into the store through a space in the back where an air-conditioning unit was installed, he said.

The early morning shopping list ranged from digital videodiscs and a DVD player to custom baseball caps and jerseys, some of which cost upward of $150, he said, probably the store’s most expensive items.

Police identified the suspects as Dale Harding, of Temple Street, Somerville, and Korey Treadwell, of Forest Street, Medford.

They were each charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, larceny over $250, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle and burglary tools.

Police officers on the beat later in the day called the arrest, which occurred at around 4:33 a.m., “a nice pinch,” and an example of “a good team effort.” Officer David Schoefield made the arrest.

The stolen car, a 1995 Honda Accord, was towed to an auto repair shop with damage to the ignition. The merchandise was returned to the store, which was closed all day because of the crime.

The owner of Heavy’s said he appreciated the efforts of police in making the arrest and recovering his property — “they were there when we needed them,” he said — and especially the efforts of the anonymous citizen who tipped police that the crime was in progress.

“That was good looking out,” he said, restacking the shelves with hats, and putting video games back in their display case. “We got everything back. It feels great. I am pretty surprised.”

Pasquarello, too, said the bright side was not just that a crime was stopped and suspects arrested, but that it was a neighbor who called in the tip.

“We appreciate concerned citizens calling the police. They’re our eyes and ears,” he said. “People should be aware, and if they see something suspicious, call. We’re not going to be inconvenienced by checking something out.”

The store will be open today for business.

Marc Levy contributed to this report.